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USA vs. Argentina: Kobe Bryant and 3 Key Players to Watch

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  Kobe Bryant #10 of United States reacts after making a three-pointer in the second half against Australia during the Men's Basketball quaterfinal game on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 8, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Adam SpencerCorrespondent IAugust 10, 2012

Team USA has had a tougher road to the gold medal game than originally anticipated, with tough games against Lithuania and Australia already under its belt.

Now, they face a tough, veteran Argentina team that is looking to pull off an unlikely upset.

If there’s one team in this tournament besides Spain that can beat the United States, it’s Argentina.

So, let’s take a look at three players who will have the biggest impact on Friday afternoon’s game.

 

Kobe Bryant, USA

Kobe went on a tear in the second half against Australia, scoring 20 points on six three-pointers and two free throws.

That was his response to a miserable first half in which he took bad shots and played lax defense.

But, if his confidence is too high heading into Friday’s game against Argentina, he could shoot Team USA right out of gold medal contention.

He’ll need to be smart and trust his teammates if America is going to advance against the talented Argentinians.

 

Manu Ginobili, Argentina

When you think of international basketball, you can’t help but think of Manu Ginobili.

Ginobili is the leader of this Argentina team, and his patented Euro step move is envied by all.

He has plenty of experience playing against the top stars of Team USA, so he won’t be afraid of them out on the court.

If he can play inspired basketball and elevate his teammates to his level for 40 minutes, Team USA could be in trouble.

 

LeBron James, USA 

LeBron has been excellent all tournament long in his role as a point forward, facilitating shots for his teammates rather than looking for his own shot.

But, if things get tough down the stretch against Argentina, LeBron will need to flip that switch and put the team on his back.

It will be interesting to see if he can go from passer to scorer late in the game if needed.

He was able to do it in the 2012 NBA playoffs, so it shouldn’t be a problem for him.

But, with LeBron James, nothing is ever simple.

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